I’m looking for some advice regarding my setup. After significant efforts to finally raise my antenna to its final height of 47’, I now have reduced range and message counts relative to my previous setup. Let me explain.
FA Antenna -> N-to-SO239 Adapter -> 50’ Low-Loss RG8 Coax -> 6” SO239-to-SMA Cable -> FA Prostick Plus
I have a 40’ tower and had the antenna mounted at around 35’. The rPi was mounted in an outdoor enclosure near the base and a “long-term temporary” 100’ Cat5 cable ran back to the router. The Pi was too far from the WAP to use WiFi.
This setup yielded around 2,000 aircraft with 400,000 positions daily, 24% of which were from 80+ nm away.
Over time, the Florida heat and humid air killed a rPi (or two). After damage to the Cat5 cable killed the enet port on another Pi, I decided it was time to relocate it indoors.
I fabricated a new mast with proper lightning protection and nice, proper antenna mounts. Extending above the top of the tower, it puts the FA antenna at about 47’. I had to add another 50’ length of RG8 and a SO239 butt connector in order to reach the Pi, now indoors.
I’m now seeing 1,750 aircraft daily, with only 220,000 positions, only 7% of which are from 80+ nm away. In short, I now have much reduced range.
I’m frustrated that having finally completed my setup, I now have worse results. Aside from the fact that it looks great, with the new mast and all, the 12’ height increase brings an order of magnitude improvement in line-of-sight/reduced obstacles. To troubleshoot I grabbed a 50’ extrension cord and moved the Pi outside to connect it at the end of the first 50’ length of coax. That seemed to help, but puts me in the situation of having the Pi back outside, which never ends well in Florida. Can the extra length of RG8 really cause that much signal loss? How much loss can be attributed to the butt connector? Any ideas on how to work around this?